Thankful for the Puritans

Origin of Civil Liberty.

Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion. Men began to understand their natural rights, as soon as the reformation from popery began to dawn in the sixteenth century; and civil liberty has been gradually advancing and improving, as genuine Christianity has prevailed. By the principles of the christian religion we are not to understand the decisions of ecclesiastical councils, for these are the opinions of mere men; nor are we to suppose that religion to be any particular church established by law, with numerous dignitaries, living in stately palaces, arrayed in gorgeous attire, and rioting in luxury and wealth, squeezed from the scanty earnings of the laboring poor; nor is it a religion which consists in a round of forms, and in pompous rites and ceremonies. No; the religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and his apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.

Character of the Puritans.

For the progress and enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, in modern times, the world is more indebted to the Puritans in Great Britain and America, than to any other body of men, or to any other cause. They were not without their failings and errors. Emerging from the darkness of despotism, they did not at once see the full light of Christian liberty; their notions of civil and religious rights were narrow and confined, and their principles and behavior were too rigid. These were the errors of the age. But they were pious and devout; they endeavored to model their conduct by the principles of the Bible and by the example of Christ and his apostles. They avoided all crimes, vices, and corrupting amusements; they read the scriptures with care, observed the sabbath, and attended public and private worship. They rejected all ostentatious forms and rites ; they were industrious in their callings, and plain in their apparel. They rejected all distinctions among men, which are not warranted by the scriptures, or which are created by power or policy, to exalt one class of men over an other, in rights or property.

Institutions of the Puritans in America.

The Puritans who planted the first colonies in New England, established institutions on republican principles. They admitted no superiority in ecclesiastical orders, but formed churches on the plan of the independence of each church. They distributed the land among all persons, in free hold, by which every man, lord of his own soil, enjoyed independence of opinion and of rights. They founded governments on the principle that the people are the sources of power ; the representatives being elected annually, and of course responsible to their constituents. And especially they made early, provision for schools for diffusing knowledge among all the members of their communities, that the people might learn their rights and their duties. Their liberal and wise institutions, which were then novelties in the world, have been the foundation of our republican governments.

Effects of the principles and institutions of the Puritans.

The principles of the Puritans fortified them to resist all invasions of their rights; and prepared them to vindicate their independence in the war of the revolution. That war ended in the establishment of the independence of the United States. The manifestoes, or public addresses of the first American congress, and the act declaring independence, proclaimed to all the world the principles of free governments. These papers circulated extensively in foreign countries. The French officers who assisted in the defense of American rights, became acquainted in this country with the principles of our statesmen, and the blessings of our free institutions; and this circumstance was the germ of a revolution in France. The constitution of the United States is made the model of the new governments in South America; and it is not without its influence in Greece, and in Liberia in Africa. It is thus that the principles of free government, borrowed from the Puritans, have been conveyed to foreign countries, and are gradually undermining arbitrary governments, with all their oppressive institutions, civil and ecclesiastical.

excerpt from “History of the United States” by Noah Webster

Less Punishment, More Prevention

“In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament, that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the bible; for this divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.” – Dr. Benjamin Rush, “A Defense of the use of the Bible as a school book. Addressed to the Rev. Jeremy Belknap of Boston”

Benjamin Rush Cigar Box Label
Benjamin Rush Cigar Box Label

Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was also a member of the Sons of Liberty, considered by John Adams as top 3 most influential founding fathers, served as Surgeon General for the Continental Army, member of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, known as the Father of American Psychiatry, Father of American Medicine, Father of Public Schools Under the Constitution, founding member of America’s first Bible Society, and helped begin the American Sunday School movement.

Advice to the Young

“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty ; if the citizens neglect their duty, and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes ; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws ; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men ; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. Intriguing men can never be safely trusted.” – Noah Webster, History of the United States

From Bondage to Bondage Once More

“Paradoxically enough, the release of initiative and enterprise made possible by popular self-government ultimately generates disintegrating forces from within. Again and again after freedom has brought opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent, the incompetent and the unfortunate grow envious and covetous, and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the Golden Calf of economic security.

The historical cycle seems to be:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to apathy;
From apathy to dependency;
and From dependency back to bondage once more.

At the stage between apathy and dependency, men always turn in fear to economic and political panaceas. New conditions, it is claimed, require new remedies. Under such circumstances, the competent citizen is certainly not a fool if he insists upon using the compass of history when forced to sail uncharted seas. Usually so-called new remedies are not new at all. Compulsory planned economy, for example, was tried by the Chinese some three millenniums ago, and by the Romans in the early centuries of the Christian era. It was applied in Germany, Italy and Russia long before the present war broke out. Yet it is being seriously advocated today as a solution of our economic problems in the United States. Its proponents confidently assert that government can successfully plan and control all major business activity in the nation, and still not interfere with our political freedom and our hard-won civil and religious liberties. The lessons of history all point in exactly the reverse direction.” – Henning W. Prentis, March 18, 1943, Industrial Management in a Republic

Responsibility of the Pulpit

“We are set for the defense of the blessed Gospel and for the vindication of God’s holy law. I pray you let us probe the consciences of our hearers, let us thunder forth the law and Gospel of God until our voices reach the capital of this nation, through our representatives in Congress…76

“If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.” – Charles G. Finney, December 4 1873

Happy Birthday to the Bill of Rights

born this day 1791 anno DominiBill_of_Rights_Pg1of1_AC
 
I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
 
II. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
 
III. No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
 
IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
 
V. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
 
VI. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
 
VII. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
 
VIII. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
 
IX. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
 
X. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Obey God Rather Than Men

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.”

Acts 5:27-30

maxresdefaultMuch like the theocratic government in first century Israel, our own government has their own “religion” based on a secular progressive utopia. These governments have more in common than history or our present representatives would like to admit. While the earlier actually did put Christ on the cross, the present would like to see the same end to Christ’s followers. Since that is not overtly possible, they like the Sanhedrin of old, attempt to silence Christians. Whether it is the deeming of Christian views as “hate speech” or the intimidation of clergy by over zealous elected activists our Liberties are under attack.

Government officials, then and now, both lack character. While they violate our God-given, Constitutionally protected First Amendment Rights, the tyrants blame the persecuted for their own self inflicted predicaments. So the actual Jewish leaders who pleaded with Pilate to crucify Jesus were worried about being blamed for Christ’s crucifixion. We see parallels with our current government’s hypocrisy labeling Christians as Bible clinging, gun toting domestic terrorists and refuse to challenge and designate Islamic extremist groups like ISIS as terrorists bringing death and chaos to the world.

As Christians, we are asked to leave our religion inside the church. Any religious conviction is scoffed and mocked by the secular progressive. Peter provided a simple answer that should be the single response from any Christian facing the tyranny our government has begun to unleash.

“We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.”

 

Standing up for God

Ronald Reagan“Above all, let us remember the mountain of strength that offers the greatest hope and inspiration for all. I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God’s help to guide our nation through stormy seas. But we can’t expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over on the shelf in our day-to-day living. There’s a lovely old hymn which says: When morning lights the eastern skies, O Lord Thy mercy show, on Thee alone our hope relies, let us Thy kindness know.

Trusting in Him, believing in each other, working together, we will rebuild America — the land of our dreams and mankind’s last great hope.”

– Ronald Reagan, November 16, 1982, Remarks at the Annual Convention of the United States League of Savings Associations in New Orleans, Louisiana

 

FULL TEXT

Chief Dangers

william-booth“I am of the opinion that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

General William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army – originally published in The Christian Budget (a British publication) in response to the question “What is the chief danger, social or political, confronting the new century?”

Reference TEXT

Results of a Divine Grace

“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source thatcalvin-coolidge-04 we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in the world. One rests on righteousness, the other rests on force. One appeals to reason, the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in a republic, the other is represented by a despotism. The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely a history of the rule of force held in the hands of a few. Under our constitution, America committed itself to the practical application of the rule of reason, with the power held in the hands of the people.
The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. Of course we can help to restrain the vicious and furnish a fair degree of security and protection by legislation and police control, but the real reforms which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity; these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of a Divine Grace.
On the foundation of a religious civilization…, our country has enjoyed greater blessing of liberty and prosperity than was ever before the lot of man… We cannot depend on the government to do the work of religion. We cannot escape a personal responsibility for our own conduct. We cannot regard those as wise or safe counselors in public affairs who deny these principles and seek to support the theory that society can succeed when the individual fails.”
Calvin Coolidge: Address at the Unveiling of the Equestrian Statue of Bishop Francis Asbury, Washington, DC
October 15, 1924

Life, Liberty, and Property

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